Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Leavitt's Poised to Promulgate 'Conscience' Regulation

Here we go again! Despite the overwhelming number of negative comments submitted throughout the comment period (which ended September 25, 2008), it seems that Secretary Leavitt is hell-bent on imposing his personal religious beliefs in the form of a federal regulation that would adversely affect all women of this nation. And, if he is indeed successful, women can kiss their full citizenship status good bye in a heart beat. We'll be nothing more than second-class citizens ... and relegated to the status of expendable baby birthing machines who have less rights than any yet to be fertilized egg that has yet been implanted in our womb's wall.

We're already seeing isolated denial of service/care under existing regulations ...

In calling for limits on “conscientious refusals,” ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) cited four recent examples.

  • In Texas, a pharmacist rejected a rape victim's prescription for emergency contraception.
  • In Virginia, a 42-year-old mother of two became pregnant after being refused emergency contraception.
  • In California, a physician refused to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. (In August, the California Supreme Court ruled that this refusal amounted to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation.)
  • And in Nebraska, a 19-year-old with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously affiliated hospital.
    LA Times
This loosely written regulation, which as Secretary Leavitt has clearly stated, is intended to be interpreted 'broadly.' And through those interpretations, it will make it even harder to women to seek and obtain effective and appropriate reproductive health information and services.

But it won't stop there. By opening up the definition of 'who' can conscientiously object and their looseness of interpretation, there's no doubt that the insurance companies are lustfully eyeballing this gift of a regulation. You think your premiums are high now? Well guess what, when this regulation gets promulgated, you'll be paying those same high premiums for even less coverage when their consciences kick in and the insurance companies refuse coverage for things they find conscientiously 'objectional.' Oh, and get this, if you're covered by an HMO, they'll be able to simply refuse to provide you with information, prescriptions, services and a referral to another doctor ... and you'll have NO recourse. Your husband, however, will still be able to get his little blue pills any time he so desires!

If the regulation is issued before Dec. 20, it would be final when the new administration takes office. To overturn the regulation, a new proposed regulation would need to be posted for public comment. Then, after waiting several months to accept comments, a final replacement regulation could finally be promulgated. It would take at a minimum, 6 months to rescind Secretary Leavitt's action. You might want to take a few minutes and write your Congressman an email now asking him to take immediate action to muzzle Secretary Leavitt! I did.

Current posts on this issue ...
• LA Times: Broader medical refusal rule may go far beyond abortion
• ACOG: The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine
• NOW: Bush Administration Scurries to Finalize Harmful Regulations
• Birth Pangs Blog: Pregnancy equals Death Sentence?
• Progressive Puppy Blog: Bush Attempts Outgoing Jab to Women's Health


Desert Beacon said...

The next 47 days can't go fast enough! Leavitt's actions are unconscionable...but fit right in with drilling in pristine wilderness, and dumping coal mine debris in streams or rivers, and decertifying 8,600 unionized law enforcement personnel and.....

bluelyon said...

Is there really anything Congress can do at this point? I've voiced my objections, written, signed petitions, etc, but as long as we let agencies interpret legislation via regulations not subject to Congressional oversight (and heaven knows that's been in short supply), aren't we just stuck at this point?

Perhaps what is needed is legislation banning agencies from actually creating rules and regulations at all?